Pennsylvania to issue new mercury limits

Feb 22, 2006

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reportedly plans to order a substantial cut in toxic mercury emissions from coal-burning plants.

The new regulation would make Pennsylvania the fifth state -- and one the first major coal-producing states -- to order mercury emissions reductions stricter than those set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania plan would require coal-fired plants to reduce mercury emissions by 80 percent within four years and 90 percent by 2015. The U.S. EPA wants a 70 percent cap on emissions by 2018, although full compliance is not expected until years later, the newspaper said.

"The federal rule is woefully inadequate in protecting public health," DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty told the Inquirer.

Pennsylvania's 36 coal-fired power plants produce most of the state's 5.7 tons of mercury emitted each year, placing the state second, behind Texas, in the amount of mercury emissions.

Mercury occurs naturally in coal and is released into the atmosphere when the coal is burned. As the mercury particles fall into water, they are converted into a more toxic form and then enter the food chain through freshwater fish.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Giant new plant shows coal power isn't going away

Mar 07, 2012

The Prairie State power plant, set amid farm fields and woods in southwestern Illinois, will start producing power soon, beginning a life of burning local coal that's expected to last until at least the 2040s.

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.